Australia Plus Psycho-Babble
“Dreams will get you nowhere; a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.”
I curled up in my bed on Sunday night, all warm and prepared for the day’s office naval-gazing to come, oblivious to the adventure I was about to embark on. Seemingly a few short hours after falling asleep I was woken by my dad bursting through the bedroom door and flooding the dark room with unnatural electric light. “The airport’s on the phone, you’re late, you should have been there three hours ago! Get your stuff, if we hurry we can make it but they won’t wait forever!”
“But I don’t leave till April…” I mumbled sleepily.
“I can’t believe you’ve done this, why aren’t you more organised!”
“But… April?” I stumbled out of bed, grabbed my pack and netbook and followed my anxious parents out to the car, pulling on a t-shirt and jeans.
Dad revved angrily up the M3 to Heathrow, shouting at me the whole way whilst my mum chided him for speeding and tried to comfort me, “its not your fault, they gave you the wrong date. It’ll be fine – Tony there’s no point getting there dead!” She reached back and patted my knee which made me feel a bit better. After a hasty goodbye hug and peck on the cheek I was on the plane and off to Thailand to start my adventures.
I touched down an indefinite period of time later in Sydney, Australia; which appeared on the world map as a bottle-green streak along the bottom of the world neighbouring Antarctica. I confusedly grabbed my bag and netbook, except I discovered that in the bleary-eyed rush I had accidentally picked up my parent’s laptop instead and because it was so much earlier than I’d intended to leave there was nothing in my backpack but a few random items I’d been storing there. What a waste! All that time and money I’d spent carefully researching and choosing my kit and it was all folded away lovingly in my travel drawer at home and not here with me. The laptop was too big to fit in my bag and didn’t have a case so I had to carry it tucked under my armpit as I tried to figure out what to do next. I would have to somehow post the laptop back to my parents (something I couldn’t afford) and then I was still without my own computer or any kit.
I found a shadowy, faceless and bored-sounding official; “why am I in Sydney? I caught the flight to Bangkok.”
“There’s a three-day stopover in Sydney to get to Bangkok.”
“Three days? But Sydney’s not even on the way to Thailand.”
“You’d better find a hostel if you haven’t organised anything.”
I headed out into the baking heat with the empty backpack hanging off my shoulders like a deflated balloon and the laptop slippery in my sweaty hands.
It turns out Sydney is a small, quiet, car-less town; not much bigger than the airport itself. A central white marble-paved road, as wide as a dual-carriageway, serves as the main high street from which all else leads off. The few buildings consist of small, white, pre-fabricated cubes and are randomly dotted about the flat white squares and piazzas. In the centre of the main road is a simple round pool and fountain and green fields are visible beyond the borders of the town. The only population seemed to be half-a-dozen or so chubby, dishevelled teenage skater boys, who were taking advantage of the smooth paving off in the distance. One with a bowl-cut and a grubby brown t-shirt free-wheeled up to me; “do you need a hostel? We’re back-packers too; we can show you a good place.”
I followed bowl-cut into one of the pre-fab cubes on the right and found myself in a hostel that looked remarkably similar to a shabby London pub. The hostel owner was a lady in her late 30s with a straw-like thatch of over-bleached blonde hair and too tight high-waist jeans that made her belly hang over like a muffin top. She tried to help me resolve what to do about my kit but she was busy and her heart clearly wasn’t in it. I spent a while chatting to all the back-packers in the common room, they were all en-route to Thailand too and thought it was hilarious that I hadn’t realised that flights to Thailand stop in Sydney for three days. I thought how much fun I would be having now if only I had all my kit and wasn’t in this stupid situation.
The next morning the hostel owner informed me, not unkindly, that she was booked and I couldn’t stay there again that night. I tried to ask her for help but she was clearly bored of me and enjoying lounging in her common room. I wandered out into the street again and sat on the lip of the little fountain in the square in the same clothes I’d left home in. Should I go home and sort my stuff out? Then I’d miss half the orienteering and they might not let me have my teaching placement. Should I or could I replace everything in Thailand? Could I afford to? Had I even got my documents and credit cards? The skater boys were off in the eerie distance again, enjoying themselves doing tricks; they were bored of my problems too. I hugged my parent’s laptop to my chest, my sagging empty backpack lying in the dust at my feet like a broken promise, and I felt overwhelmingly small and silly and alone and I missed my mum.
Just as I was feeling utterly desolate the obnoxious clamouring of the Chris Moyles breakfast show crashed in around me and faded almost immediately into the haunting intro of Wretch 32’s Don’t Go, of all the songs to wake up to after a night like that! I squished my face into the pillow in a rush of relief. That’s only the most recent of those dreams that I’ve had and for some reason I always seem to end up in a demented version of Australia instead of Thailand with nothing but my parent’s laptop. They’re going to have to chain it to the table when I do leave. I googled dream meanings for Australia and this is what I got:
“To dream about or that you are in Australia suggests that you are being pulled toward opposite directions… Often referred to as the land down under, the dream may be a metaphor to represent your unconscious and your underlying thoughts.”
Not bad for meaningless Google-guff. Think I might go pack now though, I’m pretty sure it’s not too early… 64 sleeps!